Slavery and Revolution

About the Taylor Letters

This part of the site uses a blogging format to showcase excerpts from letters written by Simon Taylor (1739-1813), a slaveholder and plantation owner who lived in Jamaica at a time when the institution of slavery dominated the economy and daily life on the island. This was also a period characterised by revolution, war, and imperial reform.

‘Slavery and Revolution’ is a free resource and open to anyone. The material on the site is intended for use by academics, students, and others to use in their research, teaching, and learning. In particular, the resources here might be of interest to:

  • A-level students preparing for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
  • School or university teachers convening modules on slavery and abolition
  • University students preparing essays or dissertations
  • A-level students working on aspects of the history of slavery

The original copies of the Simon Taylor letters are held in the UK at Cambridge University Library and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library. The transcriptions appear here with the kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library. Each excerpt is accompanied by the full reference to the item from which it has been drawn in the Vanneck-Arcedeckne collection in Cambridge University Library or the Taylor Family Papers in the Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library. For guidance as to how to reference the excerpts when citing or quoting from them, see Conditions of Use.

The letters have been transcribed as accurately as possible, with few corrections made to style and presentation, preserving the often rough-and-ready punctuation and spelling of the eighteenth-century originals. Each excerpt is accompanied by a short paragraph placing it in its historical context, and there are occasional notes within the excerpts, given in square brackets, to explain specific words, terms, and references from the letters.